Two new secondary education programs in the Janesville School District should help prepare students for college and future careers.

Chris Medenwaldt, director of secondary education at Janesville schools, will present information about Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and High School Pathways to the PPC Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Medenwaldt said AVID is a program for students who are just trying to get through high school and less likely to be thinking about what they will do after they graduate.

“It’s really taking some students as early as ninth grade, and giving them skills, opportunities and pushing them toward some rigor that maybe they wouldn’t have taken otherwise,” Medenwaldt said.

Starting next fall, an elective AVID class will be available to students at both Janesville Craig and Parker high schools. The course will teach specific note-taking and problem-solving strategies.

Ninth graders in the program will continue with it into 10th grade if they find success. The district's goal is to start with as few as 25 Craig and Parker students, increasing to 100 students in a few years.

Medenwaldt said he's is looking to add AVID to the curriculum at the much smaller Rock University High School as well.

The district will start identifying eighth grade students for AVID this month and let the prospective students' families know what to expect from the program.

High School Pathways

Another new program in development, High School Pathways, is all about narrowing down what career path a student would like follow after high school.

“Traditionally at the secondary level, there’s been career clusters. There were 16 career clusters," Medenwaldt said. "Say you want to go into communications or finance. What Pathways does is refine that even further. So one cluster is health science. What exactly does that look like? There’s a lot of things in health sciences, everything from how do you manage people, to therapies, to diagnoses, to support services.”

The High School Pathways program can help students get a head start on their careers by taking courses though Blackhawk Technical College and identify the steps needed to pursue their chosen careers.

Medenwaldt said there is data indicating that Wisconsin has a need for more people going into architecture, construction, patient care, digital technology and advanced manufacturing.

“That doesn’t obviously mean we don’t have other needs, but those are the first needs for our area,” he said.


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